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Asus U3 USB Sound card/Amp for Audio-Technica ATH-AD700?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

Hello Head-fiers!

 

I'm planning on buying the A-T ATH-AD700s. Now I've been told you can improve the lack of bass in these cans by adding and external AMP (FiiO E5 was recommended). Thing is, I also need a USB sound card as the on-board audio on my laptop is... sub standard. 

 

My question is, with my limited budget of $130 and under, should I get the amp with the headphones? Or the sound card? Or should I buy the Asus U3 and get both in one? I've have mixed feelings about the U3 as I've heard reviews saying it's both amazing, and terrible...

 

Can anyone help

 

Sound Card: Creative Soundblaster X-Fi

 

AMP: FiiO E5

 

post #2 of 28

i have a u3, can tell u i;m very happy with it. its dead quiet, no hiss at all, good for headphones up to about 300 ohms. it doesnt do the lowest bass or highest treble as well as nice dedicated sound cards. this is easily better than the fiios i've tried. 

i got mine specifically for laptop gaming when my main rig cant be used. 

post #3 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnluckyShot View Post

I'm planning on buying the A-T ATH-AD700s. Now I've been told you can improve the lack of bass in these cans by adding and external AMP (FiiO E5 was recommended). Thing is, I also need a USB sound card as the on-board audio on my laptop is... sub standard. 

My question is, with my limited budget of $130 and under, should I get the amp with the headphones? Or the sound card? Or should I buy the Asus U3 and get both in one? I've have mixed feelings about the U3 as I've heard reviews saying it's both amazing, and terrible...

Can anyone help

 

Sound Card: Creative Soundblaster X-Fi

 

AMP: FiiO E5

 

If you want bass, buy something beside the ATH-AD700, no matter what amplifier you use, you not going to get much bass at all.

You laptop has a Creative Soundblaster X-Fi built in?

Samson Sr850 semi-open headphones and the Asus Xonar U3, should be around $100 total.

Are you into music? movies? gaming?

post #4 of 28
You're making the best step by not using onboard audio.

I hope your USB ports aren't noisy because the best USB sound cards will sound like crap, anyway I have an old HP laptop with 3 noisy USB ports, so I think that was due to poor manufacturing on HP's part. All my other PCs are good.

I own the Xonar U3 and the Creative X-Fi Go Pro. The creative are a good deal right now at 27 USD. The Asus is 40 (30 after rebate on amazon). I prefer the Asus for SQ and I prefer the Dolby headphone features that comes with the Asus card.

I am kinda biased to Asus because of my terrible experiences with Creative sound cards in general. But the Asus U3 sounds cleaner to my ears anyway.

I don't have the AD700 anymore. They were one of my 1st headphones. So I have never paired them with USB sound cards.

But beware both USB soundcards have high output impedance and can cause serious frequency response issues with certain headphones. But luckily the AD700 has flat impedance so it will work well with either cards.

The Fiio might not make a big difference since it will just amplify the laptop's analog audio out, and I cannot vouch for your laptop's analog out's audio performance. The safest bet is the USB soundcard.

Also, a normal amp will not make the AD700 bassier, as they are already bass light. Just use an equalizer.

TL:DR: get the Xonar U3 + AD700, they will work well. The X-Fi Go Pro would also work well, but I recommend the U3. BTW, install the U3's drivers as the volume control will be sensitive using the windows driver.
post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

If you want bass, buy something beside the ATH-AD700, no matter what amplifier you use, you not going to get much bass at all.

You laptop has a Creative Soundblaster X-Fi built in?

Samson Sr850 semi-open headphones and the Asus Xonar U3, should be around $100 total.

Are you into music? movies? gaming?

Music and Gaming. Mostly music at the moment, but I go on gaming binges every once in awhile. :P 

 

I don't really listen to bass heavy music though! Think One Republic, The Script, Coldplay... That kinda stuff.

 

And I wish I had X-Fi built in... Sorry my post WAS pretty confusing. I mean to say that I'm having trouble deciding between getting an amp, and getting a sound card. OR get both (in the form of the asus U3) and risk getting a "Jack of all trades" type result; Mildly crappy on both fronts.

 

Samson's look nice... But I've read a few threads that say they kinda suck SQ wise... What would you say about the AKG K240MKii? I'm considering spending a bit more for those, instead of the AD700s

post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by delusionist View Post

You're making the best step by not using onboard audio.
I hope your USB ports aren't noisy because the best USB sound cards will sound like crap, anyway I have an old HP laptop with 3 noisy USB ports, so I think that was due to poor manufacturing on HP's part. All my other PCs are good.
I own the Xonar U3 and the Creative X-Fi Go Pro. The creative are a good deal right now at 27 USD. The Asus is 40 (30 after rebate on amazon). I prefer the Asus for SQ and I prefer the Dolby headphone features that comes with the Asus card.
I am kinda biased to Asus because of my terrible experiences with Creative sound cards in general. But the Asus U3 sounds cleaner to my ears anyway.
I don't have the AD700 anymore. They were one of my 1st headphones. So I have never paired them with USB sound cards.
But beware both USB soundcards have high output impedance and can cause serious frequency response issues with certain headphones. But luckily the AD700 has flat impedance so it will work well with either cards.
The Fiio might not make a big difference since it will just amplify the laptop's analog audio out, and I cannot vouch for your laptop's analog out's audio performance. The safest bet is the USB soundcard.
Also, a normal amp will not make the AD700 bassier, as they are already bass light. Just use an equalizer.
TL:DR: get the Xonar U3 + AD700, they will work well. The X-Fi Go Pro would also work well, but I recommend the U3. BTW, install the U3's drivers as the volume control will be sensitive using the windows driver.

I think if anything, I might go with the U3... You said you owned the AD700 at one point, is the bass really that bad? I'm coming off a pair of Turtle Beach X12's... I know... And they have one of those "Bass boost" gimmicks attached to them (literally). The base is nice some times... but its just so... gross on most music. So I'm not sure if I like a large amount of bass. o.O

 

Also, my TBs have a usb connector. When I plug it in, I hear a light screech. Is that a sign that my usb ports are "Noisy" or that my TBs are really THAT bad?

post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 

And thanks for the great replies!

post #8 of 28
Most likely it's the Turtlebeach. Noisy USB ports are very rare (I think the motherboard is at fault when a USB port is noisy).

The AD700 has no sub-bass, they are fine from 100hz onwards. I can't say if you'll like them. But for music, I really found them bass-light (And I'm not a bass-head).

Unfortunately, the K240 will be a bad matchup for the Asus Xonar U3 (IMO) due to the high output impedance. The K240 will sound muddy on this soundcard. The Creative X-Fi Go Pro is still a high output impedance source, but it's not as bad as the Xonar U3. So if you're going with the AKG K240, I recommend the Creative X-Fi Go Pro.



post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnluckyShot View Post

Music and Gaming. Mostly music at the moment, but I go on gaming binges every once in awhile. :P 

 

I don't really listen to bass heavy music though! Think One Republic, The Script, Coldplay... That kinda stuff.

 

And I wish I had X-Fi built in... Sorry my post WAS pretty confusing. I mean to say that I'm having trouble deciding between getting an amp, and getting a sound card. OR get both (in the form of the asus U3) and risk getting a "Jack of all trades" type result; Mildly crappy on both fronts.

 

Samson's look nice... But I've read a few threads that say they kinda suck SQ wise... What would you say about the AKG K240MKii? I'm considering spending a bit more for those, instead of the AD700s

I do prefer my AKG K242HDs over my ATH-AD700s

post #10 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
The AD700 has no sub-bass, they are fine from 100hz onwards. I can't say if you'll like them. But for music, I really found them bass-light (And I'm not a bass-head).

What to do, what to do... Thing is I'm not experienced in headphones at all. The TBs were the first headphones I spent more than $20 on. So I'm not sure about what I like and don't like... I'm sure I'd be happy with the AD700, but I wanna get the best bang for my buck. (I've been saving my money for this)

 

 

 

Quote:
Unfortunately, the K240 will be a bad matchup for the Asus Xonar U3 (IMO) due to the high output impedance. The K240 will sound muddy on this soundcard. The Creative X-Fi Go Pro is still a high output impedance source, but it's not as bad as the Xonar U3. So if you're going with the AKG K240, I recommend the Creative X-Fi Go Pro.

Can you suggest any full sized cans that would work well with the U3? You seem pretty knowledgeable. Something in the $90-$140 range that would work well for both music and gaming? (Big soundstage, not to bass heavy...)

 

And again, thank you for the awesome replies.

post #11 of 28
I also own the U3.
It's nice for gaming but I definitely prefer the Fiio E17 for SQ.
post #12 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GL1TCH3D View Post

I also own the U3.
It's nice for gaming but I definitely prefer the Fiio E17 for SQ.

Haha well you'd better for the price difference! I'll take that as a vote for the U3. :P I'd love to get the E17 but it is WAY out of my budget. Thank you though, I'll look into it if I ever need a higher end DAC.


Edited by UnluckyShot - 7/19/12 at 4:13pm
post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnluckyShot View Post

Haha well you'd better for the price difference! I'll take that as a vote for the U3. :P I'd love to get the E17 but it is WAY out of my budget. Thank you though, I'll look into it if I ever need a higher end DAC.

Is your budget 130 for both the dac/amp and headphones or just the dac/amp?
The e17 is around $130 used...
post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GL1TCH3D View Post


Is your budget 130 for both the dac/amp and headphones or just the dac/amp?
The e17 is around $130 used...

Both Headphones and DAC/Amp, unfortunately. =/ But I'm willing to push it to ~$150.

post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnluckyShot View Post

Both Headphones and DAC/Amp, unfortunately. =/ But I'm willing to push it to ~$150.

Yea... the e17 by itself is most of your budget xD
The U3 isn't bad. It's inexpensive and does the job. Good for gaming but I generally don't bother with it nowadays, even if I do go on for gaming.
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